“She has a million names, and the star has none.” – Jacob Clifton
Brody in Tehran supported only by Carrie pursues the mission to assassinate IGRC head Akbari thereby moving CIA asset Javadi up the ranks. Self preservation is his strongest motive; there really is no other way out. There’s no guarantee it is indeed a way out.
Brody is brought to Akbari who receives him warmly. He has no trouble believing Brody’s information on Javadi and trusting the man delivering it. In fact he begins to reminisce about first hearing Nicholas Brody’s name, “here in this office.”
Brody looks around, amazed.
“You spoke with Abu Nazir here in this room?“
“How he would send you to America, a sword to strike at the heart of our enemy!” Brody relies, “Good.” Akbari is puzzled and Brody is feeling time collapse: an ambush in Iraq, eight years of captivity, Issa, Tom, Jessica …. it’s goes on and on. It will never stop.
“It all started here.”
He strikes quickly, using a heavy glass ashtray to bludgeon Akbari. Then he finishes him by smothering him with a pillow. As he checks for signs of life, hides the body and straightens the room his tortured face shows that his sought-for revenge is not sweet.
He calls Carrie. “I’m in Akbari’s office.” Even she has a moment of doubt. “Brody, what have you done?”
“I killed him. Get me out of here.”
Carrie’s face is the picture of wonder and hope. He did it! A bell tolls.
Then Homeland does what it does so well; shows us desperate people’s stories converging.
Brody cleans off the blood, hides the body and finds Akbari’s pistol.
Carrie slips out of her hotel through the kitchen.
Javadi glides out of the headquarters and slides smoothly into his Mercedes. Watchful as a cat.
Brody is escorted out of the building, he is stopped but it’s only to retrieve his visitors’ badge. Damian Lewis’ Brody is a commanding portrayal of controlled hysteria and grace. His car and driver almost make it through the gate when the alarm sounds! Pulling the gun, he presses it to the drivers neck.
“Drive. Drive! Go!!”
In Virginia Saul receives a call from Carrie.
” He went through with it Saul. He killed Akbari. Brody did… He completed the mission after all.”
If Saul will authorize it, an extraction plan can be initiated. Saul is less than confident about this development. He’s never seen Brody as anything but duplicitous.
As Carrie waits for him in the designated park, Brody commandeers the car in a desolate area. He spares the driver but tosses his cell phone into a crevasse. Yet when he gets to the park there’s no sign of Carrie. He lingers nervously for a bit, looking as blogger Jacob Clifton says, “all 6’3″ and red haired.” He gives up and returns to the car only to be accosted by Carrie. As they switch seats and cars, they bicker like a married couple.
They truly are the only people on their side for back in the states while Javadi has confirmed the kill, he’s also set the cogs of counter-intel in motion. He, Javadi, is in charge of the manhunt and should the murderer not be apprehended quickly, “The weaker I look and the less chance I will be chosen to replace Akbari.” The worst case scenario, in fact, is that Brody and Carrie be captured together
“I lose the ability to control events on the ground. Tell me where he is and at least I can protect your girl.”
It’s stark choice. Yet against Dar Adal’s advice Saul initiates the extraction plan.
Carrie and Brody driving through a dangerous land, with unreliable allies, into an unknowable future. If there is a future. The desert and sky stretch endlessly. A mysterious, mournful music surrounds a woman rushing toward a destination and her passenger, a man exhausted by the day, the month, the years he’s been made to endure and for what?
“I was born in the Desert.”
“I can’t believe I didn’t know that.”
“At least (my old man) isn’t around anymore. All this would’ve broke his heart.”
It has broken Nicholas Brody’s heart.
They manage to arrive at an isolated CIA safe house. They take care of mundane tasks and settle in to wait. It’s all somehow so ordinary.
The cold desert night descends. She bundles Brody up in blankets. She finally expresses the concern she’s felt since their rendezvous. “You want to tell me what’s going on with you?” He retorts, “I just took a man’s life today, Carrie.” Their conversation is interrupted by a call from Saul; he’s confirmed Brody accomplished the mission and that they’ll be extracted before sunrise. Carrie is so pleased. Brody is not. He asks her what’s next because, “I never expected to get this far so I try not to think about it.” She tells him, “I’ve thought about it.”
With the one person he can he tells a number of truths. He chooses this moment to tell her “the cockroach story.” “there was this man in Caracas … he called me a cockroach, unkillable but bringing misery wherever I go…In what world do you redeem one murder but committing another… I’m a lot of things but I’m not a Marine anymore. I haven’t been for some time.” His cynicism and disgust for everything she’s built her life around threaten her moment, her victory! She saved him against all odds. They are both at a loss. She tells her truth-
“I’m pregnant … from our time at the lake.”
Now it’s her stage to act out on. “I don’t know…what kind of life we have back home either….but there will be a life! And I’m not sorry about that..
because I believe one of the reasons I was put on this earth was for our paths to cross
and, yeah, I know how crazy that sounds.” He goes to her and in his most tender tone tells her, “I don’t think that sounds crazy at all.
I think it sounds like the only sane fucking thing left to hold on to.
For them it always has been so as long they can be together.
So it is in peace that he sleeps, with Carrie watching over; it’s with joy she hears the sound of the helicopter and wakes him. “They’re here.” But it is with dismay and horror that they find troops outside the door are not rescuers but rather the Kuds Force. Forced at gunpoint to lie prone, hands behind heads, they look to each other.
As Brody is dragged off, Carrie invokes Javadi’s name for intercession. The commander says simply,
“The colonel is aware.”
Carrie makes a frantic call to Saul. He has no idea what’s going on. He soon will. Chief of Ops Scott, Senator Lockhart and Dar Adal are huddled when he accosts them.
He learns, in short order, that he is out as Director, Lockhart is in. That as first order of business Lockhart cancelled the extraction and called in Javadi. Dar asserts that “our people come before our mission is a sentimental idea and always has been”. That “Brody arrested is better for us than Brody back in America”. They know Brody arrested is Brody executed. We know it as well.
In Tehran a distraught Carrie is intercepted as she beats a hasty exit from her hotel. She is brought once again face to face with Majid Javadi. Deflecting his veiled threats she goes to the heart, “Where’s Brody?” He’s in Evin prison awaiting death by hanging.
“A public execution is scheduled for tonight.”
“Tomorrow to be precise, at 4 am.”
at the beginning of this encounter Javadi told Carrie “No one is just one thing. You, of all people should know that.” and Sean Taub proceeds to show us the truth of that. He sees Carrie and her sacrifices more clearly than most of her colleagues.”I’ve asked myself over and over ‘Why? Why would anyone do that to themselves?’…. I think I know now.
It was always about him.
That’s what you care about. Maybe the only thing….. Everyone sees him through your eyes now…Even me.”
She can barely endure being seen by this guy, but he sees Brody as well. “Who Brody is, that’s for Allah to know, but what he did, there can be no debate. It was astonishing and undeniable.”
She can’t be allowed to see him,
“He is at peace, in his cell. A kind of peace. Let that be.”
but she bargains for a phone call, “Two minutes. That’s all I ask.” Carrie battles between will and impending grief. There must be a way!
A tiny barred cage in Evin prison. Brody purifies his body. A guard wordlessly approaches and, through the bars, hands him a phone. He cautiously says,”Hello.”
Carrie launches immediately but he gradually talks her down. “Carrie, it’s over.”
“I want it to be over.”
“Don’t say that!”
“I’m okay. I really am”
He makes a request of the woman who’ll move heaven and earth for him. “Don’t be there. Don’t put yourself through that.” This she cannot, will not agree to.
“I have to be there. I will be there.”
The guard approaches and Brody says, “I have to say goodbye now.” “Brody.” she quietly pleads, “Brody, can you just, stay here, just for, just for a few more seconds.” The lovers listen to each other breathe; they feel their closeness for the final time.
Of course she tries Saul once more – Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch. Only when she hears her mentor say,
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
…does the unstoppable Carrie Mathison acknowledge the reality
“Oh, my god.”
At 4 am a crowd gathers at a harshly lit public square behind hurricane fencing. A large industrial crane suspending a noose, enormous murals of a mutated American flag and the Ayatollah Khomeini are all that occupy this desolate space. Fara’s uncle Masud accompanies Carrie through the crowd.
Brody moves from his cell to his transport in mounting yet contained fear. As his car approaches the excitement and noise quickly overtake the crowd and swirl around Carrie. When he emerges his darting eyes and stiff shoulders betray his terror. Yet he refuses the blindfold.
Akbari’s wife and children stand before him. She spits in his face and places the red rope around his neck. The crowd roars. Carrie watches in shock. The crane rumbles to life and the noose tightens. Slowly, slowly Brody begins to rise. In this form of hanging the victim is strangled to death. It takes a while. His eyes sweep the gathered throng. As his death draws nearer Carrie breaks her trance and climbs the fence.
“Brody! Brody! Brody!!
And he finds her. They lock eyes across the distance for the last time. They’ve reached out across time and continents, over tragedies and people in pursuit of the wholeness they felt only with each other.
A soldier swats the fence with a baton; Carrie falls and Brody, his body spasms and he’s gone. The falling star disappears from view.
Carrie takes a last look then allows Masud to escort her away. She shakes with grief.
Four Months Later
Saul’s out. The covert plan, both Phase One and Phase Two are a success. Carrie has accepted the post of station chief in Istanbul. She is now visibly pregnant. Yet Lockhart refuses her request that Brody get a star on the wall memorializing the unnameable fallen.
All of them attend a memorial for the CIA casualties. Saul, Quinn, Dar. The ceremony ends and Carrie is called forward into her new life. She turns to look back at Saul and her expression shows all that has passed between them. There will be no going back.
It’s night, the mourners and soldiers and officials are gone. Carrie enters the dark lobby her echoing footsteps the only sound. She slows and stops beside the wall of stars. Music drifts in as she mournfully walks to the wall inscribed
In Honor of those Members of the Central Intelligence Agency Who Gave Their Lives in the Service of Their Country
She draws a star among the others. Not a perfect star but a star nonetheless. And then…she walks on.
A few years have passed since I first joined the conversations on Fan Fun, my perspective on the story of Nicholas Brody has altered through my participation here and other social media. My admiration for Damian Lewis’ work has only grown as a result. My views on the love story have enlarged as well but to those who’ve sneered that “it’s not like it’s a grand tragedy”, I must say; Yes, I think that’s exactly what it is. Will it survive the ages? Probably not but it’s around for the foreseeable future. I’m no longer young. I’ve long ago ceased expecting symmetry in relationships. Love is not a power struggle.
I think I’ve said all I have to say about Damian’s stunning creation but don’t be surprised if during S12 of Billions I pop up to say, “Wait! I’ve had a thought about Brody!”
I’d like to say something beautiful. My heart has been in my throat in writing this final piece. Instead I’ll share the words of blogger Jacob Clifton of the late website Television Without Pity. You can find this work now on Brilliantbutcancelled.com
She knew him before she ever saw his face. She climbed into the walls of his house, heard his sleeping breathing, and fell in love with him. She traveled side-by-side with him, through his trauma and his recovery, their hearts beat in tandem long before they met, and when they met the whole sky lit up. The purpose for which they were put on this Earth. She brought him back, so many times, she hauled him up out of there, every time it got dark.
So few of us are ever known.
She has a million names, and the star has none. But it shines on her, nonetheless. It always will. – Jacob Clifton